Lenten Lectio: Reflection on Psalm 19

Heaven is declaring God’s glory; the sky is proclaiming his handiwork.
One day gushes the news to the next, and one night informs another what needs to be known.
Of course, there’s no speech, no words— their voices can’t be heard—
but their sound extends throughout the world; their words reach the ends of the earth.
God has made a tent in heaven for the sun.
The sun is like a groom coming out of his honeymoon suite; like a warrior, it thrills at running its course.
It rises in one end of the sky; its circuit is complete at the other. Nothing escapes its heat.
The Lord’s Instruction is perfect, reviving one’s very being.
The Lord’s laws are faithful, making naive people wise.
The Lord’s regulations are right, gladdening the heart.
The Lord’s commands are pure, giving light to the eyes.
Honoring the Lord is correct, lasting forever.
The Lord’s judgments are true. All of these are righteous!
They are more desirable than gold—than tons of pure gold!
They are sweeter than honey— even dripping off the honeycomb!
No doubt about it: your servant is enlightened by them; there is great reward in keeping them.
But can anyone know what they’ve accidentally done wrong?
Clear me of any unknown sin and save your servant from willful sins.
Don’t let them rule me.
Then I’ll be completely blameless; I’ll be innocent of great wrongdoing.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to you,
Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
Psalm 19 (CEB)

The opening verses of this Psalm set the theme of creation shouting about God’s glory. Instead of my usual reflection style, today I’m just going to leave you with a poem. St. Francis of Assisi wrote his Canticle of the Sun in 1224 and carries very similar themes. Take some time to read both and compare. How are they similar? How are they different? How do they talk about nature revealing God’s glory? What should our response be? Feel free to leave a comment (here or on Facebook) with your responses and feelings.

Canticle of the Sun
by St. Francis of Assisi

Most high, all powerful, all good Lord!
All praise is Yours, all glory, all honor, and all blessing.

To You, alone, Most High, do they belong.
No mortal lips are worthy to pronounce Your name.

Be praised, my Lord, through all Your creatures,
especially through my lord Brother Sun,
who brings the day; and You give light through him.
And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendor!
Of You, Most High, he bears the likeness.

Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars;
in the heavens You have made them bright, precious and beautiful.

Be praised, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air,
and clouds and storms, and all the weather,
through which You give Your creatures sustenance.

Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Water;
she is very useful, and humble, and precious, and pure.

Be praised, my Lord, through Brother Fire,
through whom You brighten the night.
He is beautiful and cheerful, and powerful and strong.

Be praised, my Lord, through our sister Mother Earth,
who feeds us and rules us,
and produces various fruits with colored flowers and herbs.

Be praised, my Lord, through those who forgive for love of You;
through those who endure sickness and trial.

Happy those who endure in peace,
for by You, Most High, they will be crowned.

Be praised, my Lord, through our sister Bodily Death,
from whose embrace no living person can escape.
Woe to those who die in mortal sin!
Happy those she finds doing Your most holy will.
The second death can do no harm to them.

Praise and bless my Lord, and give thanks,
and serve Him with great humility.


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